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32 Things You'll Wish You Knew About Relationships In Your Twenties That You Know Now

"If you don't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else?"

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1. You don't have to have a partner.

Don't feel anxious because the rest of the world seems to be living in a Disney movie. As soon as you're not feeling rushed, it'll come.
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Don't feel anxious because the rest of the world seems to be living in a Disney movie. As soon as you're not feeling rushed, it'll come.

2. Love is always love.

You might think that the way you love is weird, unique or different. But love can be felt and expressed so many different ways. There are more ways to love than you ever imagined.
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You might think that the way you love is weird, unique or different. But love can be felt and expressed so many different ways. There are more ways to love than you ever imagined.

3. Every relationship—and every person—is unique.

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4. So stop constantly comparing your relationship to others. Love is not a competition.

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5. There is no standard for relationships. What works for others may not work for you.

Not wanting to get married doesn't mean that you're not in love. Neither does not wanting to hold hands while you're walking down the street. And hey, if your partner is not into chocolate and flowers, think of all the money you'll save!
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Not wanting to get married doesn't mean that you're not in love. Neither does not wanting to hold hands while you're walking down the street. And hey, if your partner is not into chocolate and flowers, think of all the money you'll save!

6. And stop trying to figure out what kind of couple you are.

Stop trying to be "up to scratch"—every relationship is a world unto itself. As long as no one gets hurt, no type of couple is better than any other. You set the bar.
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Stop trying to be "up to scratch"—every relationship is a world unto itself. As long as no one gets hurt, no type of couple is better than any other. You set the bar.

7. Nobody but you can cure you of your insecurities.

Sure, your partner can help you deal with your insecurities, but it's not their job to fix you. Any effort to solve your problems needs to start on the inside before any help coming from the outside will do any good.
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Sure, your partner can help you deal with your insecurities, but it's not their job to fix you. Any effort to solve your problems needs to start on the inside before any help coming from the outside will do any good.

8. Work on your empathy. Not all of us come from the same place.

And don't get exasperated if the other person thinks differently from you. How boring would it be if we were all the same?
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And don't get exasperated if the other person thinks differently from you. How boring would it be if we were all the same?

9. Don't expect to change your partner. If there's too much about them that really bothers you, they may not be the right person for you.

Little changes and improvements can be made, but sometimes there are irreconcilable differences that are impossible to overcome. Pick your battles—because some of them are not worth going to war for.
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Little changes and improvements can be made, but sometimes there are irreconcilable differences that are impossible to overcome. Pick your battles—because some of them are not worth going to war for.

10. Learn to be alone.

And to enjoy it.
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And to enjoy it.

11. The best way to get over someone isn't always to get under someone else.

You decide how much time passes between relationships. Sometimes social pressure makes you go back out into the world too soon, when you still haven't had a chance to heal. Go as fast or as slow as your heart tells you to.
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You decide how much time passes between relationships. Sometimes social pressure makes you go back out into the world too soon, when you still haven't had a chance to heal. Go as fast or as slow as your heart tells you to.

12. Not all relationships are forever.

But that doesn't mean you can't have a great time for a while.
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But that doesn't mean you can't have a great time for a while.

13. You can't force anyone to love you.

So, you know, learn to let it go.
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So, you know, learn to let it go.

14. And you can't force yourself to love anyone, either.

Some people may be perfect on paper and it may seem rational to be with them, but it's still okay if it doesn't work out. It happens.
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Some people may be perfect on paper and it may seem rational to be with them, but it's still okay if it doesn't work out. It happens.

15. It's nice to have a lot of love to give, but it is more important to love well.

Compliments are nice, but honesty is more important in any meaningful relationship.
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Compliments are nice, but honesty is more important in any meaningful relationship.

16. Don't let yourself get hurt.

Humiliation, lies, emotional blackmail, jealousy, and pettiness have no place in a healthy relationship.
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Humiliation, lies, emotional blackmail, jealousy, and pettiness have no place in a healthy relationship.

17. A timely retreat is sometimes the best option.

Stop sticking with a relationship that's just not working. The little wars of attrition will just leave you exhausted and bitter. Know when to get out.
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Stop sticking with a relationship that's just not working. The little wars of attrition will just leave you exhausted and bitter. Know when to get out.

18. Some breakups will make you feel like the world is crumbling down and some will take a weight off your shoulders.

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19. ...but they all have something in common: you'll get through them eventually.

Even if you think you're never getting out of this one, you will.
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Even if you think you're never getting out of this one, you will.

20. Don't stop being the person you are because someone doesn't like it...

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21. ...because there's nothing worse than letting yourself down.

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22. Learn from your mistakes.

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23. But don't hold yourself accountable for absolutely EVERYTHING.

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24. Give more than you take from a relationship.

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25. Don't keep your thoughts to yourself. Relationships aren't built on silence.

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26. And having different opinions is natural. Arguing can be healthy and therapeutic in a relationship.

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27. Don't assume that you know what the other person must be thinking—ask and clear up any doubts.

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28. Don't project onto your partner and assume that they'll act in any given way.

And definitely don't be disappointed when they do things their own way.
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And definitely don't be disappointed when they do things their own way.

29. You're not their mother, father, son, or daughter—you're their partner.

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30. Get carried away...

...and let yourself be loved.
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...and let yourself be loved.

31. And above all, learn to love yourself.

If you don't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else?
Lorenzoantonucci / Getty Images

If you don't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else?

32. Because in the end the longest relationship you'll ever have is with yourself.

So take care of yourself, respect yourself, and really treat yourself right.
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So take care of yourself, respect yourself, and really treat yourself right.

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